his first press briefing this year, the attorney general and minister of
Justice, Abubacarr Tambedou, says there will be no compromise with witnesses
who lie before the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission.
Speaking before the journalists at the Justice ministry on Tuesday, Tambedou said The Gambia has learnt the challenges of truth reconciliations around the world and that they will not allow anyone who attempts to deter them from establishing the truth and helping the families of the victims to have closure.
“When I conclude that a particular witness has been outrageously dishonest, then the consequences will be prosecution. I have said this on many occasions over the past two years,’’ he said. “Throughout my consultations with the Gambian public I have said this, come forward with the truth and potentially benefit from an amnesty, or do not come out with the truth and you will face the consequences in terms of prosecutions,’’ the minister said. “I will not change that attitude, I will not change my mind about it, and I will continue to pursue that policy with aggressiveness and rigor.”
“There is no compromise on it. They have had two years to think about it, they have been reminded constantly to tell the truth, there is a consequence for not telling the truth.’’
He said they do not want to make the mistakes made by some countries that had truth commissions, adding they are satisfied when victims find closure.
The Justice minister went on to admit that some witnesses may have challenges in remembering some of the events in the past two decades but lying before the commission will not be accepted.
Tambedou said the least he expects from perpetrators is the truth, noting that they owe it to the families of the victims as well as helping the process of healing and establishing the truth about the events that occurred over the past 22years.
Ba, as he is fondly called said determining those who are considered to be “outrageously dishonest” will be based on factors such as the evidence before the TRRC, the gravity of the human rights violations, on the alleged role of the perpetrator and based on the materiality of dishonesty.
He went on to give Sanna Sabally one of the witnesses alleged to have committed the greatest of crimes during his tenure as Vice Chairman of the Junta government as an example of a person who was not arrested because he is perceived to be truthful.
He said that is an example of encouraging healing process and to encourage others to come forward and tell the truth.